Notre Dame Fighting Irish - Official Athletics Website

Volleyball Earns Three BIG EAST Major Awards

Nov. 16, 2001

The University of Notre Dame volleyball team, fresh off a perfect 12-0 record in BIG EAST Conference competition this season and preparing for the league championship in Pittsburgh, Pa., received recognition for its outstanding season by earning several awards at the conference banquet on Friday evening.

The Irish came away with three major awards, led by senior middle blocker Malinda Goralski as the 2001 BIG EAST Player of the Year. Goralski has improved significantly every season of her career at Notre Dame and developed into one of the top offensive threats for the Irish in 2001. She currently leads the Irish in hitting (.377) and blocks per game (1.77) and is second on the team in kills (3.15). In the latest NCAA statistics (Nov. 11), Goralski was ranked fifth in blocks per game and among the top 30 in hitting percentage.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Goralski said.

“I would not be in this position without the help of my teammates. It has been a great four years at Notre Dame and I will share this award with my teammates.”

After leading the Irish to a 12-0 record and top-25 ranking this season, the league coaches voted Debbie Brown the 2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year. Brown has led the Irish to a 76-2 regular-season BIG EAST record since the Irish joined the league in 1995 and a perfect 43-0 record in conference home matches.

“It would not be possible to receive this honor without the work of my team, my staff and the support of my family,” Brown said.

“This team has been a great group to be around and I thank them for all the hard work and effort they have put forth throughout the season.”

Sophomore setter Kristen Kinder, who led the Irish to a .263 hitting percentage this season, also was named the 2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year. Kinder’s outstanding setting, as well as her all-around skills, allowed the Irish to hit .297 in conference games.

“I owe this award to the hitters and passers on our team,” Kinder says.

“They make what I do possible and help keep the (hitting) numbers up.”

Kinder follows 2000 BIG EAST Setter of the Year Denise Boylan, making the two Irish setters the only league players to earn the distinction (the award was created just last season).

The string of awards did not end for the Irish after the announcement of the player of the year. Senior opposite Kristy Kreher earned her second consecutive all-BIG EAST first-team selection after leading the team in kills this season and ranking third in hitting during conference matches. Sophomore Kim Fletcher, who earned all-rookie honors last season (the conference has since decided not to award an all-rookie team and add an honorable mention all-BIG EAST team) followed up with an all-BIG EAST second-team selection this year. Fletcher ended up second in the conference in hitting percentage and fourth in blocks per game (both in conference matches only).

2001 BIG EAST Player of the Year

Malinda Goralski, Sr., MB, Notre Dame

001 BIG EAST Rookie of the Year

Sara Albert, Fr., MB, Georgetown

2001 BIG EAST Setter of the Year

Kristen Kinder, So., S, Notre Dame

2001 BIG EAST Coach of the Year

Debbie Brown, Notre Dame

2001 All-BIG EAST First Team

Malinda Goralski, Sr., MB, Notre Dame

Kristy Kreher, Sr., OPP, Notre Dame

Shayla Bush, So., OH, Rutgers

Wendy Hatlestad, So., OPP, Pittsburgh

Yulia Vtyurina, Sr., OH, Georgetown

Melissa Wooley, Jr., OH/OPP, Connecticut

2001 All-BIG EAST Second Team

Kim Fletcher, So., MB, Notre Dame

Kristen Kinder, So, S, Notre Dame

Sara Albert, Fr., MB, Georgetown

Christine Lambert, Jr., MB, Connecticut

Pualani Tuyay, Jr., S, Rutgers

Cheryl Stinson, Jr., MB, Virginia Tech

2001 Honorable Mention All-BIG EAST

Kari Belin,k Jr., OH, Seton Hall

Sarah Katinger, Sr., OH, Providence

Mary Kiriakou, Sr., MB, Rutgers

Carrie Norris, Jr., S, Pittsburgh

Annie Spicer, Fr., OPP, Virginia Tech

Jennifer Ward, So, S, Georgetown